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It’s Time to Stop Ignoring the Threat of the Internet of Things

Xu Zou, the CEO and co-founder of Zingbox, gives insight into why the security of internet of things devices is a crucial topic for businesses to understand.

Xu Zou

CEO and Co-Founder, Zingbox

Why is IoT security an important topic right now?

IoT devices are rapidly becoming entrenched in all facets of our daily lives from X-ray machines at hospitals to robots on manufacturing floors to HVAC systems at hotels. Such dependencies require IoT devices to operate continuously and reliably through all conditions, including cyberattacks. In recent years, we have seen cyberattacks shift their focus from stealthy theft of information to ransomware with threats of service disruption. Unlike past cyberattacks, the consequences of these new attacks can be far more damaging than just monetary loss. They can impact someone’s life.

What are a few of the challenges when it comes to protecting yourself on these devices?

While IoT devices have continued to innovate, the same cannot be said for the security of these devices. Many organizations simply had to make do with security solutions originally designed for IT devices such as PCs and laptops. Unfortunately, traditional solutions, including anti-virus software and network access controls, have proven to be incompatible and ineffective. These traditional solutions also cannot cope with the rapid pace and sophistication of modern cyberattacks and are often dependent on security researchers to manually create new signatures or patterns as the primary methods of detecting attacks.

How can our readers overcome these challenges?

As much as IoT devices are revolutionizing our lives and the way we conduct business, securing IoT devices must also take a revolutionary approach. The only ways to keep pace with the growing number of IoT devices, as well as the sophistication of cyberattacks, are via artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Security solutions based on AI and continually enhanced by machine learning can define a device’s unique personality and ensure that it’s behaving as intended.  Any deviation due to malware or ransomware can be identified even before such attack has been named. It may come as a surprise, but these innovative solutions are available today.

How do you see the way that we treat IoT security changing within the next ten years?

Due to the rapid adoption of IoT devices, IoT security has, unfortunately, taken a back seat to the IoT devices themselves. Security is often the topic of discussion only after the IoT devices have been deployed and, in many cases, only after a large-scale cyberattack. With the growing dependence on IoT devices, this approach will change in the coming years. IoT security will undoubtedly be a prerequisite for any IoT device deployments. Organization will require IoT device vendors to provide modern device security by partnering with security innovators.

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